Orange farmer sees online orders go from 100 to 15,000 per day after he donates fruit to Zhejiang University student

·3-min read

An orange farmer in southeastern China saw his online orders jump 150 times after he donated a few boxes of the fruit to a Zhejiang University student for experiments, because he wished to “make contributions for the country”.

Chen Kai, a farmer in Linhai of Zhejiang, eastern China, has had to deal with more than 15,000 online orders per day, previously the number of daily orders at his shop on Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo was fewer than 100, the Zhejiang Daily reported.

It happened after Chen decided to send oranges for free to a student from Zhejiang University last week after learning she wanted to buy the fruit for an experiment and the story ended up going viral, the report said.

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“Can oranges be used for experiments?” Chen asked the student during an online conversation.

After being told they could, he asked if the experiment was for the benefit of the country.

“You could say so. We are graduate school students,” the student, identified by her surname Xiao, replied.

“To serve the country, I will donate one box to you … I can’t help our country a lot. Since I’ve encountered this opportunity, I will make my contribution,” wrote Chen.

The next morning, Chen sent Xiao a box of oranges and then added five more boxes when he realised that she had said they needed oranges of different sizes for the experiment.

Xiao, a PhD candidate from the College of Agriculture and Biotechnology at Zhejiang University, later told the newspaper that she and her fellow classmates were conducting experiments on diseases affecting oranges.

After receiving the fruit she released her online chat with the farmer on her school’s internal website. On the next day, touched by the kindness of Chen, many students flocked to his online shop to buy oranges.

The donation story was picked up by local news outlets over the weekend. It has since been viewed 370 million times on Weibo, and received 800,000 likes.

The People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s mouthpiece, called the story heart-warming.

Chen said he could not have predicted the result as the enthusiasm from internet users was beyond his imagination, Zhejiang TV reported.

“You don’t need to buy oranges from my shop. I will be moved even if you just say ‘hi’ to me,” he told the audience. “It’s important to consume rationally.”

Chen said with the rising demand, he is selling oranges not only from his own farm, but also from farms nearby.

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